It’s just down the Peth and up from Bridge End, but as Linda Charlton, manager of Residential Care, says, sometimes it feels like Thornley Leazes is a million miles away from the buzz and activity of the village centre.
I’m visiting to chat about the brilliant Great British Care regional award won by Carolyn Harrison, who Linda thoughtfully nominated, as featured in this week’s Hexham Courant. Carolyn, who manages the facility’s Domiciliary Care arm (that’s in-your-own-home care to you and me), is as pleased as punch. And I’m delighted to be there too, because I’ve often been serving the bar at one of Thornley Leazes fun and/or fund-raising functions in the village hall, and have seen at first hand the effort that goes into these socialising functions that keep a sense of community going for residents and stay-at-homes alike. Carolyn is always in the thick of it, helping everyone to enjoy the party — I think the sociable aspect of care suits her perfectly!
Anyway, far from the buzz of Allendale Town, the dedicated staff at Thornley Leazes take care of their residents; there’s quite a waiting list now, and the facility could use a dedicated day-care centre in another local site, if anyone could identify a venue. But meanwhile, since I parked up in a new spot in the Showground lane, I need just to mention how neatly groups can work together for a common good: the Allendale Agricultural Show committee kindly allowed Thornley Leazes to construct a hard-core parking area for the use of the staff (except during the Show of course, in late August), which is a great benefit for the 20 employees at the centre (of which 10 are full-time, and 10 are part-time). That mutual kindness has cleared the corner of awkwardly parked vehicles and made life easier for everyone!
Thornley Leazes is a privately owned care centre which raises money for residents’ functions and lifestyle improvements, while enhancing socialising, at a variety of events, like local jumble sales, race nights, and of course the annual Christmas party. Residents go out too, ferried by Carolyn or other staff, to weekly events like the Dominos & Bingo held in the Common Room at Arnison Close, the Northumberland County Council housing block, every Monday at 2pm. Or the Luncheon Club held at Allendale Village Hall on Thursdays, or the Healthy Life session there on Tuesday mornings. It takes a consistent effort to keep people moving and enjoying life, and Thornley Leazes is dedicated to doing just that for its residents and clients.
Linda tells me about an opening for a Care Worker apprentice that the centre is contemplating, due to go live for applications in a week or so. It sounds like an ideal opportunity for a local young person with an abundance of patience, a pleasant demeanour, and a dedication to service, to consider. Care work is increasingly a professional endeavour, and training is crucial in order to maintain standards. Enquiries should be made by telephone (683769) or email in the first instance, but further details will be made available in print, of course.
Meanwhile, Carolyn is quite excited about the next phase of the Great British Care Awards: an in-depth interview with her and Linda on the 7th of February in Birmingham, before the gala dinner/awards ceremony to be held in the same city on the 8th of March. Folks in the village will be eagerly waiting to hear the results, but even before the formalities, we know that Carolyn is prized beyond measure by those she cares for. And, of course, the regional award reflects so well on all of the staff and the facility at Thornley Leazes, which must help during the days when it’s not easy to be nice and kind and patient. Good luck to Carolyn and Linda on the interview ahead!